Get Started with D&D

Where to start? I get this question a lot, and here are the answers! Despite the definitive answers you’ll get from some folks, there are actually a lot of different ways people get started in the hobby. The most common are A) joining a game that other folks are already running, or B) buying some of the products and getting started on your own. If you’re in Group A, congratulations! You already have a pool of players whose brains you can pick for these answers… but if you’re in Group B, I’ve got you covered!

Please note that many of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means I receive a portion of the sale when you purchase using one of these links. This doesn’t affect how much you pay, and it goes a long way toward supporting my work.

Here goes!

Starter Kits

Each of these is a prepackaged way to kick of your gaming, and includes all of the basics. They come in various flavors, but each has everything you need to run at least a handful of sessions. That said, while these are convenient, they’re not all that cheap for what you get. They’re good products, but you’re paying for the convenience (or the novelty in the case of the Stranger Things set) rather than the actual stuff.

D&D Starter Kit

This set has everything you need to get started, including the ever-popular Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure.

D&D Essentials

Similar to the D&D Starter Set above, but this set is particularly suited for small groups. If you’re starting with a group of 3 or fewer, this is probably a better buy.

Stranger Things Starter Set

To be totally honest, this is the least helpful of the three starter sets… but you still can’t go wrong with Stranger Things.

Core Rule Books

These products are those that most people consider the starting point for your D&D journey, and they are the core of the experience.

Player’s Handbook

This is where most of the need-to-know rules are, and it gives your players the ability to create characters of all types. Buy this first!

Monster Manual

This is the second book you need if you’re jumping into D&D. Your heroes need foes to battle!

Dungeon Master’s Guide

Believe it or not, this is the least important core rulebook. If you have to prioritize, save this one for last.


There are a handful of other things you’ll want to have handy if you’re playing D&D. Dice are essential. Minis and maps are optional, but they sure add to the fun!


The starter sets come with some dice, but not enough. You’ll want a set for each player at your table.


Minis are optional, and can be super expensive. If you simply must have them, I recommend starting with Pathfinder Pawns. Huge value with these!

Battle Map

You can get specific maps for different adventures, but it can get pricey. I recommend starting with a vinyl mat that you can draw on.

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